EFFECT OF SELECTED BANK DELIVERY CHANNELS AND SUPPORT INFRASTRUCTURE ON PROFITABILITY OF COMMERCIAL BANKS IN KENYA
KIPROP, ISAAC KIPRONO
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Commercial banking sector in Kenya is one of the most important facilitators of economic growth, driven by competition and government regulations which have led to innovations of various channels of bank service delivery; agency banking and mobile banking with the help of support infrastructure; credit reference bureaus and deposit protection as regulated by Central Bank of Kenya. Banks have got the capacity of reaching a higher number of unbanked customers to mobilize savings and thus make the banking sector more profitable. However, according to Bank Supervision Annual report 2014, five commercial banks in Kenya reported losses contrary to expectation; Credit bank Ltd, Consolidated bank of Kenya ltd, UBA Kenya ltd, Equitorial commercial bank ltd and Eco-bank Kenya ltd, while others such as Dubai bank Kenya, Imperial bank Kenya and Chase bank Kenya being taken under receivership thereby calling into the question of profitability of the Kenyan commercial banks. The main objective of this research therefore was to investigate whether; agency banking, mobile banking, credit referencing and deposit protection have any significant relationship on profitability of commercial banks operating in Kenya. Mechanism and magnitude of effects of such changes on the bank profitability have only been inferred from subjective evidence, but as far as the present study is concerned, it has not been subjected to empirical analysis to test a combination of bank delivery channels with support infrastructure. This research used longitudinal descriptive research design. The population comprised of 20 Commercial Banks licensed and registered under the Banking Act of Kenya, that have been in existence for the ten year study period 2006 to 2015 and with consistent financial reporting and format. A purposive criterion was used to select participating banks based on availability of data and consistency in the financial reporting, therefore providing accurate and representative findings. Secondary data was used from regulatory bodies such as Nairobi Securities Exchange Limited, Kenya Bankers Association and Central Bank of Kenya as they are considered to be of high validity and free from biasness. The researcher was limited to data availability and consistency through the ten year financial period of the study.Data was analyzed using inferential and descriptive statistics. Descriptive statistics included calculation of the mean, median, standard deviation, minimum and maximum. Inferential statistics consisted of correlation analysis and panel data regression analysis. The results and findings of this study indicated that, there was no enough evidence that the factors analysed affected return on equity; Agency Banking (r = -0.0699, p = 0.4187), (β= 0.0551, SE = 0.0179), Mobile Banking (r = 0.1179, p = 0.1834), (β= 0.0347*, SE = 0.0182), Credit Referencing (r = -0.02242***, p = 0.0087), (β= -0.0239, SE = 0.0157), and Deposit Protection (r = -0.0228, p = 0.7796), (β= 0.254*, SE = 0.153),However, some of the individual components such as Non interest income, deposit insurance and capitalization associated with the factors showed that they significantly contributed to the changes in return on equity.The study also concluded, therefore, that there are varied time lags for each of the factor’s effect to filter to income statement of the banks. The study recommended that banks operating in a fast changing business environment like in the Kenyan banking sector, innovation and first adopter strategies may help the banks sustain superior profitability amid tightening competition and focus on niche products as well. The government should also undertake back-testing for validity of support infrastructure due to changing business environment. The study therefore suggested a future study based on instrumented variables with time lags to complement this study.